When the Lakers lose in the playoffs, they don’t mess around. Consider:
2004- they lost in the NBA Finals 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons.
2006- they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns after having a 3-1 series lead.
2007- Phoenix knocked them out again with a 4-1 first round win.
2008- the Lakers make it to the Finals to face the Boston Celtics, but lose in Game 4 after having a 24 point lead and then got blown out in Game 6 131-92.
You can add yesterday’s display to this list, after the Dallas Mavericks completed their second round sweep of the two-time defending champs with a 122-86 shelling. And really, it’s not just yesterday’s display that will be remembered. The entire series, the Lakers did not look like they were into it as they failed to close out games and allowed the Mavs to do whatever they wanted. Pau Gasol was so out of it that he might as well have been on the disabled list due to a removed spine.
The bottom line is, the Lakers quit. The Mavericks were definitely on fire the entire game, but the Lakers had lost that game by halftime when they were down 63-39. I would have expected them to come out after the half and play like they did when they won the last two NBA championships. You can come back from 24 points in a half and win a game. It’s entirely possible, but not if you quit, which is why the lead was 36 when the game ended. I would have expected Kobe Bryant to come out of the locker room like a bat out of hell, but he finished the game with a pedestrian 17 points and I can hardly remember seeing play in the 2nd half.
The Mavs’ scoring.
It was amazing to see the Mavericks tossing in three-pointers from all over the place; for my part, I’ve never seen anything like that happen. They tied the NBA playoff record for threes in a game with 20, hit 63% of their three point attempts, and shot 60% overall from the field. And to add to the fun, most of that came from the bench. Peja Stojakovich scored 21 points on 6-6 shooting from behind the line (7-7 overall). It seems like it’s been years since he’s played as well as he did during the series. J.J. Barea, all six feet of him, scored 22 points on 9-14 shooting. And finally, Jason Terry played like an “on fire” Reggie Miller in NBA Hangtime, draining threes from all over the place. He finished the game with 32 points on 9-10 shooting from behind the arc (11-14 overall). Dirk Nowitzki was the only starter to score in double digits with 17 points, but when the bench by itself scores as many points as the other team, it doesn’t matter too much what the starters do. In fact, things were going so well for the Mavs that the record tying three was hit by Brian Cardinal.
Andrew Bynum is still a loser.
Just when I was starting to believe that Andrew Bynum was a becoming a respectable player, he goes and does something like this:
Bush league is right, Mike Tirico. Not only was that elbow a dirty play, but Bynum did it against someone a foot shorter and 110 pounds lighter. And Barea still hit the shot. Lamar Odom was also ejected for a hard and unnecessary foul against Dirk Nowitzki. Odom’s take on the series was especially pathetic.